News Source: Dawn
Writer: Ikram Junaidi
ISLAMABAD: Though mobile phone service providing companies had been reluctant to share data about their customers with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the matter has been resolved after involving the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
This was stated by a representative of the FBR while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications about the collection of general sales tax (GST) and withholding tax from the companies on Monday.
He told the committee that a software had now been developed to collect biweekly data of telecom companies’ customers.
“The companies were reluctant to share the data with the FBR describing huge customer base and confidentiality as the reasons but the matter has been resolved after involving the PTA. Ufone, Telenor and Mobilink have started providing data for the last three months,” he added.
Committee Chairman Senator Shahi Syed recommended that a withholding tax should not be deducted from mobile phone cards worth Rs100 as these were mostly used by people belonging to the low income group.
The members also asked the PTA to take notice of the free distribution of SIMs across the country.
PTCL employees’ pension
About the implementation of the recommendations by the committee for increasing the pension of all retired employees of Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL), the meeting was informed that the matter was being heard in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PTET) was established in 1996 under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganisation) Act 1996 to disburse pension among retired PTCL employees.
The secretary Ministry of Information Technology said the court had asked both the PTCL and PTET to provide accurate calculations of the amount of pensions. The matter will be resolved as per the directions of the court, he said.
Mr Shahi Syed observed that PTET was an independent trust and should facilitate and resolve the issues of retired PTCL employees.
The PTET managing director told the meeting that pension was paid to former employees but the issue related to only the 20pc raise announced for civil servants in 2010.
PTCL’s head of corporate communication Fariha Tahir Shah told Dawn that the company was the only contributor to PTET and during the last a few years had contributed Rs48 billion to the trust.
She said the trust was not only paying pension regularly but also giving annual increase as per the provisions of the 1996 Act. The PTCL and PTET are also complying with all legal provisions and orders of the apex court, she said.